I know I've included only a fraction of the croissants one can find in this city, but those which I highlight here are within walking distance of my home. And I love walking!!
For me it's the nicely browned appearance, that just right heft when you pick it up, the exterior crispiness and fragility which causes golden shards to shower down as you bite into it and the buttery, airy yet bodied layered interior.
Let's take them one by one.
First up, Olga's:
Next, Au Bon Pain, Westminster St. (financial district).
When I asked the staff where their croissants were made, they reported "we bake them here". They receive them frozen and ready for the oven.
OK, so next up was Seven Stars on Broadway:
The French Tarte:
My version of La Pâtisserie des Rêves
Finally, Starbucks (La Boulange) at the Providence Biltmore. When I inquired as to where the croissants were made, the staff didn't know the answer but shared that they receive them baked and flash frozen, and they thaw them on site.
Costs for all the local croissants range from $2.00 to $2.75.
There is a lot that goes into making a great croissant. Certainly large scale production is an entirely different animal than small-batch hand crafted croissants. And as is demonstrated with Philippe's recipe (see my les croissants post), even that doesn't necessarily yield a delicious product!
It takes just the right ingredient proportions, a feel for handling the dough and, as always, practice, practice, practice!